Church of England Synod votes in favour of motion to offer blessings to ... trends now
The Church of England has voted in favour of a motion to offer blessings to same-sex couples in civil partnerships and marriages today.
The decision came after a marathon emotional near-eight hour debate across two days ended in a vote for the motion - which did not seek to change the position on gay marriage, meaning same-sex couples are still unable to marry in church.
Immediately before the vote in the Synod, a minute of silence was observed followed by a prayer said by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Approval of the motion allows same-sex couples to go to Anglican churches after a legal marriage ceremony for services including prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and God's blessing.
The motion had been brought by the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, and was the result of six years of work on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage known as Living In Love And Faith.
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke passionately at the Synod last night
Justin Welby referenced being held hostage in Nigeria during his speech
The Archbishop is in favour of offering blessings to same-sex couples
Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, described the vote in favour of the motion as a "moment of hope for the Church".
Dame Sarah, who led the debate and chairs the group which oversaw the development of the proposals, said: "I know that what we have proposed as a way forward does not go nearly far enough for many but too far for others.
"It is my prayer that what has been agreed today will represent a step forward for all of us within the Church, including LGBTQI+ people, as we remain committed to walking together.
"We have always said we will listen carefully to Synod, so over the next few months so we will reflect on everything which has been said and prepare new pastoral guidance for the Church on matters of sexuality and marriage. We will also refine the texts of prayers of love and faith."
In a joint statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said it had been a "long road to get us to this point".
They said: "For the first time, the Church of England will publicly, unreservedly and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church.
"The Church continues to have deep differences on these questions which go to the heart of